SHIFTboston blog» Blog Archive » WILDLIFE IN CAMBRIDGE



Cambridge’s cityscape is marked by its iconic structures and historic value. However, this fixed built environment is not necessarily open to dramatic alterations. Introducing change in temporary measures – employing a type of ephemeral urbanism – can answer this problem.

This temporary intervention hopes to re-imagine Inman Square, and give it the truly unique park which it deserves. The heavily trafficked streetscape is transformed into a wildlife preserve for one week in summer allowing animal enthusiasts, children, educators and curious visitors to experience the wilderness in their own urban environment. The intervention calls for the sealing off of approximately 200 meters of Cambridge Street, which will be filled with tropical plant species and exotic animals. Temporarily closing the street allows it to be transformed into a dense, urban jungle, with large trees which create a virtually impenetrable maze of greenery. A series of bridges and viewing platforms will connect the rooflines of the North and South side of Cambridge Street, zig-zaging across the street, allowing pedestrians to walk amongst the tree tops, looking and experiencing the jungle first hand. This truly unique experience will emphasize the “one-of-a-kind” spirit of Inman Square.

Temporarily linked by the bridge network, the flat rooftops will be set up like a bazaar, offering tourists refreshments, merchandise, and entertainment from the local merchants. These areas will enhance the main activity of the jungle below and allow local businesses a chance to get involved and take advantage of the increase foot traffic. However, the purpose of the bridge network will be as much about leisurely strolling through the treetops as it will be about getting from rooftop to rooftop. The path of the pedestrian becomes a journey or an experience, rather than a matter of efficiency.
Taking Inman Square to such an extreme is intended to provide residents, business owners, and visitors with an exotic, fanciful reconception of Inman that is as original as the square itself yet also comments on the severely lacking green space and domination of vehicular traffic.

Categories: Urban Ecology
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